#WinsforWomen: Momentum Building in Oklahoma as Abortion Restrictions Stall
In the first step in what will hopefully be the road to defeat, two bills that would restrict abortion access in Oklahoma stalled in committee yesterday.
Return to the 1950’s
In a throwback to the 1950’s, the first bill, H.B. 1441, would require a woman to get permission from the “father” before having an abortion. Not only does the bill show a profound distrust of women’s judgment, it is blatantly unconstitutional. The Supreme Court has consistently struck down that these types of requirements. No one should ever be given veto power over what a woman can do with her body. Oklahoma’s House Public Health Committee decided not to bring H.B. 1441 up for a vote. As a result, the bill won’t move forward for now.
The second bill, H.B. 1549, would ban abortions based on genetic abnormalities. Like all bans on abortion, this bill is unconstitutional. Such bans take away a woman’s ability to make her own personal decisions and substitute a woman’s judgment with that of politicians. Thanks to a 4-4 vote by the House Public Health Committee the bill is currently stalled
A Change in Tide?
This is huge news in a state that has passed some of the country’s most extreme abortion restrictions and could signal a change in tide. Many of the state’s abortion restrictions, such as laws that place unnecessary and burdensome restrictions on abortion providers and impose felony charges on abortion providers for even minor violations of antiabortion regulations, have been held unconstitutional or can’t be enforced while lawsuits are pending. Maybe Oklahoma politicians have finally decided to focus on the real work of improving the lives of people in Oklahoma rather than trying to make it harder for women to access abortion care.
Although the bills didn’t move forward this week, the fight’s not over. Both bills could come up for a vote again next week. The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice along with other state advocates are organizing to defeat these bills permanently. If you live in Oklahoma, visit their website here to find out how you can help.
Resist and persist!